2016 was a great year for horror. It really was. That was the first time in year’s I’d had to leave movies I genuinely enjoyed off of my year-end Top 10 list. In fact, for a few years I had struggling to come up with a Top 5. But 2016 delivered in spades. Independent horror continued to further develop and introduce unique new talents and voices who will no doubt shape the genre for years to come.
At the same time, theatrical horror showed a huge resurgence. Films like Conjuring 2, Lights Out, Don’t Breathe, they all did extremely well in theaters. I’m only hoping this will continue into this new year and beyond.
Given that, I’m taking a look at the horror films scheduled to be released this calendar year and determining which ones I think show the most promise. To clarify: I will only be looking at movies with a scheduled release date or films that are already completed and could be feasibly released within the year.
With that said, here are my picks for the most enticing upcoming horror movies of 2017.
I’m still reeling from that trailer. Yes, Prometheus had a good looking trailer too. This is technically a sequel to that, it could wind up making just as little sense. But I’ll be blunt and honest here: I would have enjoyed it more if there had been xenomorphs in it. Ridley Scott insisted that Prometheus would share DNA with Alien, and it was a vague prequel, but there were times when that movie felt almost vindictive in how different from Alien it was trying to be. The trailer showed me eggs, facehuggers, and the xenomorph I know and love. I’m more than happy about that and I can’t wait to see what other surprises it holds.
Okay, honestly I don’t actually believe we’ll see this movie this year. But I have to include it by my own terms given that it is both completed and has a release date—for the moment. I don’t even think it’s actually going to wind up being that good. But I just have to know what the hell it is about this film that’s delayed it for so long. It’s been finished for a few years at this point, so what’s the hold up? I saw a trailer for it in theaters over a year ago. I’m just completely driven by curiosity on this one.
The Dark Tower
There have been several complaints from fans about the differences between the book and movie that are already readily apparent. But the film’s marketing has shown something that actually makes these changes kind of brilliant: technically, this is a sequel to the books. It’s an interesting way to approach adaptation and also makes it easier to read a book separately from watching the movie. This is my favorite book series of all time, and I am so curious to see how it will play on the big screen.
As I’ve explored in a previous article, Hellraiser: Judgment could be just as big a trainwreck as Revelations. But it could also be good. Gary Tunnicliffe knows the Hellraiser mythology inside and out. The basic premise was a passion project for him before it was even a Hellraiser movie. They’ve selected an actor to play Pinhead who at least looks the part and seems genuinely excited to take on the role. I know without a doubt that everyone involved tried as hard as they could to make the best feature they could. I’m very curious to see whether or not they succeeded.
This is one of the movies I am most looking forward to in the upcoming year, horror or not. I love the book so much. I am so passionate about that young cast of characters and can’t wait to see them re-interpreted for the screen. I know that no one can emulate Tim Curry as Pennywise, which is why I’m hoping for a different approach, which we are clearly getting. There are so many things in the book that could never make it to the screen for the miniseries, not just for time or budget, but for the very fact that it was made-for-TV and couldn’t showcase hardly any of the extremely dark, horrific material on the page. We’re already getting some of the darkest elements of the novel, like the leper and Patrick Hocksetter, that couldn’t feasibly be a part of the first adaptation.
Leatherface is getting delayed almost as much as Amityville, but it’s not getting a fraction of the publicity, which almost makes me even more nervous. The film has been completed for awhile, but nothing is really being done with it. I actually like the concept of a prequel set in the ‘50s. I think the Chainsaw series often falls into repetition and I like the new approach. Plus, the filmmakers behind it are terrific and are people I’ve long thought were perfect to tackle the Texas Chainsaw Massacre legacy.
I love Key & Peele. But I love that Get Out embraces a completely different flavor from what Jordan Peele had created with the TV series. On a couple of different podcasts, like The Movie Crypt and Shock Waves, Peele has made his passion for the genre incredibly clear. I love how much he loves horror. And I know he’s going to turn that talent toward the genre and make something amazing.
A Cure for Wellness
Cure for Wellness looks like a kind of film we used to get quite a bit in the ‘90s, but just don’t see anymore. The trailers promise it as something of an acid trip of psychological horror and that’s exactly what I hope it will be. It’s about time we were due for a new Jacob’s Ladder. Gore Verbinsky can be something of a mixed bag as a director, but the trailer just seemed full of all of the impressive visual imagery he excels at.